What are dentures? A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. A complete denture is solely made of acrylic resin and teeth. A partial denture is made of similar materials that are bonded to a metal framework. Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial dentures fill in the spaces where there are missing teeth. The premature loss of teeth can cause the adjacent teeth to collapse into the space both next to and above the space of the missing tooth (teeth). In the long run, teeth shift and become malpositioned and the jaw joint attempts to compensate for the missing teeth by shifting also. So not only do lost teeth mess-up the arrangement of the teeth, but the jaw joint itself. pain and discomfort can result from a mal-positioned jaw joint. It is not a question of if this phenomenon occurs but when this combination of effects occurs. Dentures can correct and prevent this combination syndrome from occurring by maintaining the other teeth from changing position.
Complete dentures are categorized as either conventional or immediate. A conventional denture is placed in the mouth about 6-8 weeks after all the teeth are removed to allow for proper healing of the tissues. The inside of the denture conforms to the tissue side of the jaw and if fabrication of the denture was made prior to healing, then it would result in an ill-fitting prosthesis. By comparison, an immediate denture is placed as soon as the teeth are removed. For the next 3 to 6 months constant relines are required with tissue conditioner as the gums shrink as they heal. When the gums are fully healed, then a permanent reline can be done to finalize the denture. The benefits of an immediate denture is the patient never goes without their teeth except overnight for a permanent reline.
Even if you have been wearing complete dentures for years, it is important to continue having regular dental checkups so that a dentist can examine oral tissues for signs of disease or cancer. As a result of aging, your mouth will continue to change as the bone under your denture shrinks or recedes. To maintain a proper fit over time, it may be necessary to adjust your dentures, reline your dentures, or possibly remake your dentures. Denture generally last 5 to 10 years after which time teeth may have flattened on them to the point where replacement is needed. Never attempt to adjust a denture yourself, leave it to the professionals. many of our handy patients have dremel tools at home and may attempt to adjust sore spots themselves. Attempting to do so may result in the removal of areas of the denture that aids in it’s retention and make the denture less useful. Again, please feel free to make an appointment and consult with our dental office if you have any questions about your dentures.
Patients who suffer from severe bone loss, also called atrophy, from years of wearing dentures have a difficuly time keeping their dentures in their mouths and would greatly benefit from implant supported dentures. Please read the implant section for specific information regarding implants. For ill-fitting lower dentures, the contemporary solution would involve the placement of two or more titanium implants in the front area and middle areas of the lower jaw. This would not only provide a stable foundation for a new denture prosthesis, but also serve the secondary purpose of halting any further atrophy of the lower jaw. Approximately two weeks following the dental implant placement, the patient is seen for a generous alteration of the bottom denture including grinding out the denture bearing surface and placing a thick soft reline over the surgical site. Three months following the placement of the implants, the implants are exposed and healing abutments are placed. Also, a reline of the denture over the healing abutments is done. Within two to three weeks of abutment placement, the final prosthetic phase can begin. Dentures are usally supported by ball and O-rings or a bar and clips. These are integrated onto the implants and dentures so there is a secure fit between them. A similar process is performed for upper dentures. All of these solutions are removable. If a fixed solution that does not get removed is something that is more desirable, please read the implant section.
Services we offer: All of our dentures are fabricated with our partners at our dental lab. They are NOT denturists, but certified dental technicians. It takes several appointments by our dentists to properly fit you with the right denture and guide the fabrication process at the lab. After delivery of the dentures, follow-up appointments are necessary, expected, and included to adjust any sore-spots that develop in the weeks following completion. We believe that a one-time visit to a denturist is not an acceptable method for making dentures nor should you accept that this is the standard of care. Explore your options, we can help you!